8 offbeat books to add on your 2019 reading list

January 12, 2019 – Christine Enriquez

It’s a new year, which means a new reading lineup is drafted by the bookworms out there. Each new book is a chance to learn, grow, and stimulate our many different interests. It’s best to read a well-rounded selection of titles from different genres and subject matters. Inspiration, ideals, and ideas can be picked up from all sorts of stories and studies after all. While I’m not a huge fan of fiction (yes, readers like us exist), what you will find in my library is a huge number of design, self-help, biographical, and short story books. Here are a few personally-picked reads to add to your roster:

Breakfast With Einstein : The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects
By Chad Orzel

Promising excerpt: “Your alarm goes off, and you head to the kitchen to make yourself some toast and a cup of coffee. Little do you know, as you savor the aroma of the steam rising from your cup, that your ordinary morning routine depends on some of the weirdest phenomena ever discovered. 

The world of quantum physics is generally thought of as hopelessly esoteric. While classical physics gives us the laws governing why a ball rolls downhill, how a plane is able to fly, and so on, its quantum cousin gives us particles that are actually waves, ‘spooky”’action at a distance, and Schrodinger’s unlucky cat. But, believe it or not, even the most mundane of everyday activities is profoundly influenced by the abstract and exotic world of the quantum.”

Quantum physics is one of my secret geeky interests. I’m excited to see what scientific mysteries this book will reveal. More than anything, Orzel’s book not only discusses how things work, but emphasizes that even in the most mundane part of our lives, strange phenomena lurk. Your life doesn’t have to compete with overly scientific stuff like the Big Bang or particle accelerators for it physics to do its magic—it just does.

Available in Fully Booked and National Bookstore

A Gradual Awakening 
By Stephen Levine

Promising excerpt:
 “Often when we hear people speak about meditation, we hear about wisdom, we hear about knowledge. But what, actually, is the effect, what’s the use, of wisdom or knowledge?”

One goal I’ve set for this year is to practice awareness and meditation. This book offers practical guidance and advice for anyone interested in this spiritual self-care practice. “A Gradual Awakening” has been tagged by its readers as a life-changing read. Through his words, Levine guides his readers to reflect and connect with their inner sensibilities, deepening the understanding of personal growth.

Available on Kindle and the Apple Store

Brief Answers to Big Questions
By Stephen Hawking

Promising excerpt:
“Why Are We Here? Will We Survive? Will Technology Save Us or Destroy Us? How Can We Thrive?”

I’ve always been fascinated with these topics. Stephen Hawking’s final book delves into these questions through a collection of notes, essays, transcriptions, and personal reflections from his archives. While Hawking has the guts to ask these theoretical yet pressing questions, the real value of this book is the scientist’s exciting ideas on multidimentional possibilities, space exploration, God, and artificial intelligence.

Available in Fully Booked and National Bookstore

World of Style
By Aimee Song

Promising excerpt: “About a year after I began blogging it hit me that my words and photos were reaching thousands of people every month (150,000 people a month to be exact, according to Google Analytics). People started recognizing me at school, and complete strangers came up to me on the streets of San Francisco to say that they were a fan of my posts. More than once I was on the floor stacking boxes at the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse where I worked and customers who were trying on shoes acknowledged me and my blog. It was  incredible. So incredible I decided to  invest in a better DSLR camera.”

Aimee Song has always been one of my favorite bloggers. Her second book is a curated collection of her all-time favorite looks and personal notes from her travels around the globe. In “World of Style,” she shares her favorite celebrity sighting (it was Anthony Bourdain), how grateful she felt after her first paid collaboration (what she described as a real “pinch me” moment), and the joy of landing in Los Angeles (the aftermath of #jetsetAimee).

Available in Fully Booked and National Bookstore

By George Leonard

Promising excerpt:
 “Perhaps we'll never know how far the path can go, how much a human being can truly achieve, until we realize that the ultimate reward is not a gold medal but the path itself.” 

We all have passions and skills we want to be better at. This book explains that in order to be truly fulfilled and successful, you must understand and fall in love with the process of perfecting your craft.

Available on Kindle and the Apple Store

You Are A Badass at Making Money
By Jen Sincero

Promising excerpt: “We’ve been raised to believe that you have to work hard to make money, and certainly there are times when this is true, but the real secret is you have to take huge, uncomfy risks. You have to do stuff you’ve never done before, to make yourself visible, to acknowledge your own.” 

If one of your goals for 2019 is to become more financially responsible, then we’ll find ourselves in the same boat. Sincero’s candid take on the often dry and exacting subject of personal finance is what drew me to this book—and I’m guessing, that’s enough food for thought for this (hopeless) broke generation, too.

Available on Kindle and the Apple Store

Small Fry
By Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Promising excerpt:
“I see now that we were at cross-purposes. For him, I was a blot on a spectacular ascent, as our story did not fit with the narrative of greatness and virtue he might have wanted for himself. My existence ruined his streak. For me, it was the opposite: the closer I was to him, the less I would feel ashamed; he was part of the world, and he would accelerate me into the light.” 

This coming-of-age story written by Steve Jobs’ daughter, Lisa, recounts her complicated childhood growing up in Silicon Valley. For the most part, the author tries to cover, if not demystify, the Steve Jobs myth—it is an honest portrayal of a man the world did not know. It is not only an unfolding of a true story, but one of forgiveness.

Available in Fully Booked and National Bookstore

Bella Figura
By Kamin Mohammadi 

Promising excerpt: “I sipped at my cappuccino, savoring its perfect mix of bitter coffee with creamy, frothy milk. When I was a child, one of my favorite aunts would sometimes pick me up from school and take me a sophisticated cafe in Tehran, full of intellectuals wreathed in cigarette smoke, to drink cafe glaces-- a concoction of coffee, milk, and vanilla ice cream served in a tall glass long before Frappuccinos were a glint in the marketing man’s eye. I had been addicted to coffee ever since and now smiled to think that here I would never have to drink a bad coffee again."

I’m beyond excited to finish this book—I’ve already started reading its first chapters. I live for anything Italian, and anything that involves coffee, so naturally, this book immediately became a page-turner hit. Bella figura is an Italian concept that every aspect of life should be lived as beautiful as it can be—and that’s beautiful, sí? The Italians sure know how to give into the pleasures of the world: Indulging in food, seeking nature, and the idea that the joy of beauty is an entitlement. 

Available on Kindle and the Apple Store

Personally, I have an endless array of interests—art, coffee, history, and science just to name a few. Choosing books from a variety of genres allow me to deepen my knowledge on the topics that I love and love to learn about. This year, make your book binges a little more interesting. I definitely recommend picking up a book you've never thought of reading before, as well exploring genres you might not have considered in the past. Happy reading!